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A Plague of Viral Apps


It’s interesting to search for facebook groups that contain the title “app”.

What you’ll find (especially after page 1) is page after page of predominantly negative group names, such as

“Against any more damn Facebook apps!!!”
“All the apps ruined facebook”
“All The Facebook Apps. Are Gay”
“All these “apps” make facebook feel like myspace…”
“Apps are turning facebook into myspace… apps must die”
“APPS ARE CRAP”

…with an occasional positive one, such as

“Apps are NOT turning Facebook into Myspace”

Now, in any forum for user feedback, I would expect a lot of negative comments — such is the human condition — but in this case, the comments aren’t saying “Apps are broken” or “Please make apps better,” they are saying “Apps need to go away NOW”.

I assume this is largely a reaction to a few of the very same “successful” apps mentioned in this article by Alex Krupp. The highly viral ones that are currently inundating me with spam about being “bitten by zombies,” and finding new ways to classify and compare my friends. These apps spread like wildfire, but I imagine the novelty wears off quickly.

The conclusion I’m drawing from this is that we need to concentrate more on making apps engaging, than making them communicable. The plague was highly communicable, but no one wanted it. The social interactions an app promotes should be high quality interactions, and not just more “shares” and “notifications” of meaningless events.

5 Responses to “A Plague of Viral Apps”

  1. Gemini6Ice Says:

    The main problem is that there is no way to block application invitations and, although facebook allows users to tailor what items appear in their news feeds, any control over seeing who added or removed applications is strangely absent.

    The fickle and easily-distracted mentality of the users is also frustrating. A friend will get superxwallpokesomeapplicationx5000 and think it’s the best thing ever, inviting all of their friends to use it.

    Then they themselves remove it only days later.

    As long as I am not forced to load media files I do not wish to see/hear, I will be okay.

  2. mobmash blog » Blog Archive » links for 2007-07-24 Says:

    […] KrazyDad » Blog Archive » A Plague of Viral Apps (tags: facebook applications) […]

  3. A Contribution to the Great Debate » Facebook? Web 2.0? Just ignore them, they’re not worth the trouble Says:

    […] But then I read this. Basically, everyone hates facebook apps. In fact, this lunchbreak I went through deleting a number of invitations to install apps that let me become a zombie and run round biting people. Or suchlike. […]

  4. djslim Says:

    Hi Krazydad, came across your site through the GEL video. I was intrigued by what you were about to say in relation to shannon’s information theory, then the video faded out. :( It sounds like you’re interested in mash ups? Check out these videos: http://www.assembla.com/space/jda/

  5. jbum Says:

    Thanks for the links. More about Information Theory here:

    http://new.krazydad.com/blog/2005/05/19/entropy-motion-graphics/

    – Jim